Convince me!

Discussion in 'A Song of Ice and Fire' started by Zareb, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. Zareb

    Zareb New Member

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    So in my introduction thread where I wrote I wanted tips on books to read and I was told about this series. Also prior to registering I read in several other threads about how great these books are. But now the problem is that being a poor student I'm very reluctant to buy a book by an author I've never read anything of (this is the first place I've even heard about these series) because of the risk that I might not find it to my liking and I really don't want to spend any money on something that is only going to end up collecting dust on a dark shelf somewhere.

    So please, convince me! What is these books about? Would someone who loved Eddings series about Belgarion and Sparhawk as well as (atleast the first few books) of WoT like these?
     
  2. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    hmm A Song of Ice and Fire is very different to Belgarion in writing - ASOIAF is much longer and has more politics and talking in it - its more like a Tolkien book in its manner, except that it deals more with characterisation than descriptive landscape and worldbuilding (which we go in Lord of the Rings).

    Personally I find it to be one of the best fantasy books I have read - the writer uses a good and clear understanding of the times to build a world which is belivable, and yet has magics, powers and gods. The magic in this world is very much an echo of its grand past - very little is present in the first book - but as the series progresses more and more starts appearing - as well as dragons!

    Also library :) free books - and if you go to a national one they should be able to order in almost any book from another branch so you should be able to get a copy if your worried.
     
  3. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    If you're looking for Fantasy, this series isn't for you. It's Politics with a thin veil of fantasy chucked in to change the genre -.-

    You won't laugh as much as you do when reading Eddings :p
     
  4. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    ok mets first point is all wrong - its fantasy (unless met is going to argue that dragons, giants riding mammoths, facedancer assassins and many more things are not fantasy then I guess his mind is lost to us all ;))

    As for the second - true - its a more serious series than some, not without its good sides, but generally a dark and bloody tale
     
  5. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    I didn't say it's totally not Fantasy, just not particularly Fantasy. It's basically politics with a veil of Fantasy. All very fine if you like that sort of thing.

    Then again, only read the first book. Didn't interest me since it didn't offer what I was looking for; rather offered what I didn't want.
     
  6. Nox

    Nox Antediluvian

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    I agree with Met on this.
    These series will give you everything you don't want to read about yet only a little of what you do want to read about.
    But don't take our word for it, I suggest reading at least some of it so you'll be sure.
    The 4th Pedophilia/Incest/Rape scene in 200 pages pretty much convinced me.
     
  7. Kakashi

    Kakashi The Fighters Guide House Member

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    So its just a coincidence that this said series is ultra-popular?
     
  8. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    Who said it's a crap book? It's a matter of taste. I'm not naïve enough to expect such things like rape to not occur, but the overuse of it and other concepts makes the books too grim. Sure it makes it "realistic", but that one facet of realism isn't balanced by anything else. I don't pick up Fantasy books to put me in a permanent state of dourness.

    Just a note though. Popularity doesn't necessarily mean that something is good.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009
  9. Appaliq

    Appaliq No One

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    Can you not enjoy a book that isn't 100% fantasy? A good story is a good story - period. And ASoIaF is a very, very good story. Definately a page-turner. I find myself not able to put it down even after I've read it for the fourth or fifth time. Martin, the author, is simply very talented. That being said, it's not a book for the light-hearted. It can be very dark, and certainly realistic to the time it is set in (yes - there was murder, rape, incest then). If you're looking for a light, cutesy, hero saves the day type of fantasy book - read Terry Goodkind.
     
  10. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    If I'm looking for a fantasy novel I expect one :p

    I can enjoy non-fantasy books, but that's when I'm looking for that type of book.

    It's a matter of balance between grim and "cutesy". I'm sure people weren't 100% of the time evil otherwise we would not have more tolerant people nowdays (it had to stem from somewhere). Again I'm not saying the book is poorly written, I'm just saying that the scales are heavily balanced towards the grim side.
     
  11. Nox

    Nox Antediluvian

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    I would like to add on Met and say that I do not think the books are all that well writen.
    He tends to overdescribe things and I persoanlly do not need that, my imagination is just fine.
    Also, the names and characters are stereotypical imo, for example the big hearty king, the trecherous scheming queen, the poor bastard, the rising son, the levelheaded hand etc.
    Personaly I require more debth, and that does not mean show me the dark side.There's more then dark in the debths of ones soul...>.>...anyway...on the subject of realism, well, it's fantasy, not much realism required, the biggest problem is that the realism he does supply is mostly dark.
    To me, reading this book is like watching a car crash, you know you just saw a head rolling around but you're still want to take a closer look to see if it really was a head.
     
  12. Blackness

    Blackness Well-Known Member

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    The only bad thing about asoiaf is that you'll get pissed off when some awesome main characaters die.
    Other than that, it's awesome, not THE best, but imo in top 5 fantasy works of all time. (that i've read :p)
     
  13. Cyril

    Cyril Knight of the Weave

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    Wait a minute.

    The names and characters stereotypical?

    I guess I just missed the news stories where Sandor and Cersei were named the top boy and girl baby names of 2007.

    Have you even read past the first book? Do yourself a favor, cast the negativity aside, and open the second book. Sure, at first the character archetypes are a little stiff, but it's the journey he takes all his characters through that are the masterful part of the storytelling process. Not to spoil anything, but when you can take a character from a spoiled rich boy with a good sword hand and a chip on his shoulder and turn him into a man who's discovering a sense of honor and selflessness and make it believable, then by god, you deserve all the praise you're getting for your writing.

    So here's the lowdown on the books.

    Is the prose highbrow and pretty?

    No. It's readable and targets it's audience well.

    Is it all good guys slaying bad guys and unicorns and rainbows?

    No. It's most often a dark, bloody, and sometimes bleak world where good people do bad things and bad people sometimes carry the day. The characters are intelligent and have their own agendas, that oftentimes run contrary to the face they put on in public, much like *gasp* real people do.

    Are you going to like all the characters?

    No, in fact there's going to be characters you despise. But they deserve to have their stories told as well. And like I mentioned before, I never liked said spoiled rich boy until the fourth book, where he is now rapidly becoming one of my favorites.

    Are characters you love going to die?

    Yes. This isn't Tolkien where the characters that die deserve it for some of the acts they did, and not all of them are going to die nobly, making up for their past mistakes. People in the real world die face down in a gutter all the time. Why should a fantasy book paint over it with the doomed hero fending off the forces of evil until he finally falls. That's just ridiculous.

    Are some of the things he describes hard to read?

    Yes. There are some scenes that are hard to read. Incest, rape, cold blooded murder, and wholesale slaughter aren't things GRRM tiptoes around, and I commend him for it. I firmly believe that these are things that sometimes need to be addressed, and he doesn't use them gratuitously. Every time he has used them, they have been central to advancing the story in one form or another.

    Is there a lot of politics in the book?

    Yes. However, Martin doesn't make it hard to follow. It's just as easy to understand as the rest of the prose. In my opinion, he also doesn't bog the story down with the political minutiae. Instead, he makes the details serve the story.

    Is it a story that's worth reading?

    For me, yes. For you, I don't know. That's up to you to decide, but decide it for your own reasons, not for those that I, or anyone else has listed above. I will tell you that I feel it's worth dropping the $9 or so on a paperback copy. Or better yet, hit up a used bookstore or Amazon and get a cheap, used copy, so if you don't like it, you'll find you won't have wasted as much.

    Or, as someone above mentioned, hit up the library. He's huge enough now where they'll most likely have a couple of copies of all of his books.

    Happy reading.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  14. Nox

    Nox Antediluvian

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    John - Jon

    And others like that, change one letter and it's not all that original imo.

    No, I like my fantasy, how do you say it?Fantasy.
    I'm noticing the change, it's drastic, fast and very stupid. "Oh hey, don't hold your sword like that, hold it like this. OMG we're so best buds now!" is not a proper transition for me.

    What audiance actually?Who are his books aimed for?

    Slimy characters, amazing, I did not think such a thing possible!I have never seen that before ever O_O /end sarcasm

    Read The Bartimaeus Trilogy and see how that should be done.

    Right, the real world with dragons, direwolves...oh wait...

    They say the same thing about pornography, interesting.

    I agree with this, I'm just doing some playfull banter here, the books really aren't bad, I just think they got their hype solely for the gore and contraversy, in my opinion there are better, much better, authors out there who don't share the hype just because they can't make a "believeble" rape scene.
     
  15. Cyril

    Cyril Knight of the Weave

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    One name in a world of examples to null and void that point. Not to mention that one of the refreshing things about Martin is that he uses a lot of historical variations on modern names in order to bring us a little closer to the character. I'm not sure about you, but I'm much more willing to connect with (not to mention find it easier to) characters named Robert, Jon, and Tyrion instead of characters with names like Drizzt and Wulfgar (who, by the way, is also, by your standards cliche, read Beowulf).

    First off, there's fantasy, and then there's high fantasy. You prefer high fantasy. Confusing the two can get deadly, kind of like crossing the streams.

    Not the character I was talking about. Which is just my point. This also proves that you either weren't reading the sections of the book you did read carefully enough, of you didn't read my post carefully enough. Either way, it's a bad way to enter into a debate.

    Readers. In general. Therefore, he writes for readers.

    I didn't say that Martin was writing about the real world. I'm merely saying the way he mirrors real world situations in a fantasy setting really makes it easier for readers to connect to the situation. I've never seen a morose dark elf fighting against ugly, brutish monsters. I have problems connecting with it (one of the reasons I've never been able to really get into the Drizzt series).

    No. Porn is hardly ever talked about for it's story. Are there porn movies and hentai series that have fantastic stories? Yes. But those are the exceptions and not the rule.

    Though I think what you're talking about is art films, which is an entirely different ball game. Read above about fantasy and high fantasy.

    The fact of the matter is, being able to write a 'believable' rape scene is pretty much a go ahead to actually write said rape scene.

    And no.

    In fact, A Game of Thrones is tame compared to the later books. There is very little in the first book that authors haven't explored time and again in their fantasy novels. It's merely the fact that Martin does such a good job of catching his reader's heartstrings and mirroring the situations in such a way that they can relate that makes what he does so shocking. That is where Martin's true genius lies. Some people are just uncomfortable having said situations hitting so close to home.

    Are there other authors out there that can write a good series and maybe do it better than Martin? Possibly. It could happen. There could be a writer out there.

    However, the fact is that Martin is the name in Fantasy right now. He's a juggernaut rolling inexorably along, no matter how slow he writes. His name is going to be around for a good long time, even after he's dead.

    Granted, I dislike Tolkien, which is considered strange in the world of fantasy readers, but I also believe Martin to, technically speaking, be a better writer.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  16. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    All I can say is Met and Nox should never read ANYTHING written by Anne Bishop - ever!
    should possibly add Storm Constantine to that list as well......
     
  17. Nox

    Nox Antediluvian

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    Well you seem to added a few, and if he wants to make a new world, he should do it properly.I do not want to read about the Great Wizard called Bob.Names have meaning, they carry stigma.

    No, actually I don't, I like urban fantasy, which is barely fantasy at all, as well.

    I didn't say you ware talking about him, I'm showing an example of a poor change.

    A book authors targeted audiance are the readers?...yes, that clearly needed a mention.

    Basically you lack imagination to enjoy anything that is set away too far from normal?(I'm not insulting, just asking)
    And he mirrors the sterotypes of the "real" world, I don't know about your world, but mine dosen't contain so much dark, and trust me that I've seen a lot of dark.

    Actually Bible Black raised the bar, but that's not my point, the sex is not necessery, that is, the rape is not necessary, it's there so it willd draw people who enjoy a good Ridley Scott scene.

    It's not shocking, it's f-ed up. I've seen more of all of this then most people have, and it disgusts me that some people would actually choose this as a form of entertainment.
    Also, it's only believeble if you live in a nice pink bubble and watch too many movies.
     
  18. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    What is it with the assumption that I cannot read books if they contain "dark" concepts. I'm just looking for restraint on said concepts.
     
  19. Kakashi

    Kakashi The Fighters Guide House Member

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    I don't know about everyone else, but i don't read ASOIAF because i consider it 'dark' or 'uncut'

    I read it because it was recommended to me.. by the people on TFF no less. I continued reading them because i enjoyed them more than most any other books i've read.

    I can't tell you what it is i like. I can't, i really can't. Read them yourself. If you like them, good for you. If you don't, i guess it's just something that we don't agree on.
     
  20. Nox

    Nox Antediluvian

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    Indeed, and I've started reading the Blood Jewels, so far I'm on page 40 and there has NOT been a rape scene yet.